Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Slabs for columns are often better than columns for columns

I wrote today’s post (working title: The 2 essential BIM gizmos) and. re-read it.
 Sounded airy-fairy – despite of the arguments being reasonable and true.

It needs an ‘entree’ before I can publish:

It is about basic modelling: I create a column.*

It is easy – I select the parameters and place the column.
I am specifically keen to have 2 parts of it identified, origin and ID.
Both  look OK in plan-view, however turn out to be much less useful in 3D.
This is a bit of a bother since I like working in 3D.

Then the next challenge comes.
I need to place numerous columns (say 50) over a 2D plan; All are rectangular but their sides and heights vary and each has a unique ID.

The task is of course doable and not that hard, still I keep on thinking, I could do this with the slab tool in half time.

Point? The column, beam, wall, roof tools evolved into very specific creatures that I am not sure that they needed to be – I’m starting to think that one universal tool would be better.

 Of course that would not quite work for the drawing outputs (as beams have to look differently on plans than say walls...)

I am not too concerned about the drawings.
Bring on the BIM gizmos! Come back in a day-or-two.

*I used Archicad for this particular exercise; 
I believe that most other ‘main stream’ AEC modelling packages work in a very similar way;


  1. I have involved in a discussion on the ArchiCAD tools some time ago and I have mixed feelings about this: ArchiCAD tools define meaning (wall, column, beam), but they also limit modeling freedom: flat slabs with constant thickness, walls have improved, the roof tool is improved in 15 but when people advise the "mesh" tool for complex roofs, you have to understand that something is wrong. Now ArchiCAD 15 provides the "shell" tool and better roof modeling.

    Looking back to geometry+attached info (as in regular CAD) versus info+attachedCAD (as in BIM), there were some good things in the "old" approaches and looking at the rise of Grasshopper and Generative Components, people are looking at ways to get rid of the geometry-limitations in BIM software.

    I'd like to use "any" modeling tool and attach to it "any" meaning (semantics). But the risk is that you loose a lot of the productivity gains as well. So hard to sell.

  2. Thanks for your comment - my post today is again related -